Zach’s Mail Stack 9/17


After a poor performance against East Carolina, the Kentucky game is big for Florida football recruiting.

A loss in Lexington might impact how many prospects show up for the Tennessee game, and ending the UK winning streak also wouldn’t be good.

If the Gators win Saturday’s game, they could have one of its biggest recruiting weekends of the season when the Vols come to town.

With some difficult matchups coming up in a few weeks, it’s important for UF to get some early wins and build on the momentum from the summer. Losses at LSU or Missouri won’t be looked down on.

But Kentucky? Even though the Wildcats are improved, this is a team Florida should be beating in the eyes of recruits.

On to the questions!

Have you heard of any recruits mention coach Mac’s dressing down of KT? Do you think recruits pay attention to it like media? — @trigatorjj

I spoke to Chauncey Gardner and his Cocoa teammate, Ohio State commit Bruce Judson, about it briefly after the game. Both said they saw clips of McElwain’s tirade on Twitter and had no problem with what he did.

I didn’t seek out more opinions from recruits because I expect most, if not all, feel the same way as Gardner and Judson.

That type of berating is nothing new to high school football players. I cover local Friday games for the Sun and I’ve seen coaches lay into players way worse than McElwain did Taylor.

Whether that level of discipline should be deemed appropriate is another discussion, but for high school, college and NFL players, it’s nothing new to them. Florida’s players said as much this past week when asked about it.

That type of passion from McElwain may even get some recruits fired up about him. Gardner and Judson obviously view him positively based on their tweets Sunday.

Who do you think is the better recruiter and has more pull in South Florida, Travaris Robinson or Randy Shannon? — @grimaldi_ryan

Well, they are without question two of the best in the area. Robinson made the Gators relevant in South Florida again.

His departure for Auburn definitely put that progress at risk. However, if you could have hand-picked Robinson’s replacement, was there a better choice than Randy Shannon?

While Robinson is arguably the most popular SoFla recruiter right now, perhaps no one has a better track record and more recruiting ties to the area than Shannon.

Robinson and Shannon were both born and raised in Miami through high school, but Shannon played for UM and spent 20 years coaching the Hurricanes and Dolphins.

We’ve already seen the Shannon effect at UF. Seven of the 11 in-state recruits the Gators landed late in the 2015 class were from South Florida, as were four of the first eight commits for 2016.

Robinson and Shannon do have different personalities. Each recruit is also different and might gravitate more toward one of them.

To answer your question, recruiting is about relationships and I assume Robinson relates better with high schoolers because he’s younger. However, Shannon surely has more pull in South Florida and should increase the amount of area players UF brings in.

What are Florida chances to land 5 star DT Dexter Lawrence? @justiwood

The Gators seemed like an early favorite for Lawrence after he revealed that he grew up a Florida fan. He’s also high on UF defensive line coach Chris Rumph.

Since that time, however, UF has appeared to be just another school in the mix rather than his leader.

He’s yet to visit Gainesville but has been to Alabama, Clemson, N.C. State and North Carolina. Florida State, Georgia and LSU are schools who could receive official visits from Lawrence in addition to UF.

He now plans to enroll early, so the Gators will only get him on campus once before he makes his decision. Rumph has been recruiting Lawrence throughout this cycle, but the five-star defensive tackle will need to be blown away on that trip.

I think Florida’s chances look more promising with DT Shavar Manuel.

What does the linebacker situation look like? Seems like UF is pretty thin and in dire straits. @Bigro94

UF has two verbal commitments at linebacker, Vosean Joseph and Jeremiah Moon. ESPN rates them as four-star recruits, and both look impressive on tape.

The Gators are going after top prospects Ben Davis, Jeffrey McCulloch and Lyndell Wilson, but all three will be difficult for them to land. McCulloch is their best shot at an elite LB.

Outside of those targets, UF’s options are limited. Miami commit Shaquille Quarterman has visited Florida twice and could be a potential flip if the Hurricanes have a coaching change and/or bad season.

The Gators only lose Antonio Morrison after this year, so signing just Joseph and Moon wouldn’t be that bad. But they would need to load up in the 2017 class.

That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.